Students must visit rural areas to know people’s problems: Vice President

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has asked educational institutions to encourage students to visit rural areas to have a firsthand understanding of the problems faced by people living in villages and said that understanding the rural India will enable them to come out with innovative solutions to the problems faced by people. He was addressing the convocation of The ICFAI University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand today. The Governor of Uttarakhand, Shri Krishan Kant Paul, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivender Singh Rawat and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.


The Vice President asked the students to take active part in social activities like Swachh Bharat and develop a national outlook and students should develop social consciousness. He described nationalism as serving the poorest of the poor, the depressed and oppressed.


The Vice President said that India has now become the sixth largest economy in the world and is an attractive destination for foreign investments. There will be enormous opportunities for the youth and the country should take full advantage of the demographic potential, he added.


The Vice President said that education is the single most important element in converting our young population into national assets. If the young generation of our nation is empowered, it will constitute a very strong and productive workforce to tackle the challenges like global warming, urban migration, shortage of drinking water, polluted air and fuel inefficient transportation, he added.


Expressing his concern over the decline in moral values and ethics, the Vice President advised students to always abide by the rules. He asked the students to aim for excellence and efficiency and not settle for mediocrity and ordinary approach. Use the knowledge and skills you acquire to go further, transform your world and the world of people around you, he added.


Following is the text of Vice President’s address:


“I feel extremely delighted to be a part of the convocation of ICFAI University, Dehradun.

On this momentous occasion I would like to congratulate the students for acquiring the coveted degrees and awards.

I also congratulate the esteemed teachers for sharing and imparting invaluable knowledge and skills to mould the young minds in different disciplines.

I am told that ICFAI University Dehradun is offering world class quality education for over 15 years by nurturing and enriching the young human resources of our country and efficiently preparing them for their future endeavors.

The world is shrinking into a global village because of information technology resources. The universities of today have to build the competencies required for functioning effectively in a globalised world. Students should know how to access, absorb, adopt and adapt new knowledge. They should know how to collaborate, coordinate and compete in different contexts. They should aim for excellence and efficiency and not settle for mediocrity and ordinary approach.

As we all are aware, India is on the threshold of emerging as a major economic power. My dear students, we are an old civilization with a young population. No other country is having this kind of demographic advantage. And hence it is all the more important that we take full advantage of the opportunity before us and rise to the occasion, partaking in the process of our country becoming a global power .

My earnest appeal and advice to you, dear students, is to dream big and set your sights high. You may recall the exhortations of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, our former President who not only encouraged but also made dreaming big a slogan so that each one of us, Indians can have the determination to convert those dreams into actions, into opportunities that will transform the country. This world is full of opportunities. You must seize them. What Swami Vivekananda stated 100 years ago “Awake, Arise and stop not till your goal is reached” becomes particularly relevant in today’s context because the opportunities before you are tremendous.

Use the knowledge and skills you acquire to go further, transform your world and the world of people around you.

Today’s world is a world of unprecedented changes in many spheres of human life. Innovative technologies and creative disruptions are changing the way we live our lives. Some of the changes are for our good but some are creating new challenges.

Our country, while making remarkable strides in many a field, is also facing a number of challenges like global warming, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, urban migration, increasing demand for energy, shortage of drinking water, polluted air, lack of safe waste, disposal mechanism and fuel inefficient transportation.

Universities should equip students with multidisciplinary knowledge and interdisciplinary skills to be able to not only study these problems but also look for solutions to meet the challenges.

This, in my view, is one of the biggest challenges before our education community and much of the future progress we make would depend to a large extent on the smartness and swiftness with which our higher education institutions rise to the occasion and come out with techniques of handling these.

Education is the single most important element in converting our young population into national assets. If the young generation of our nation is empowered, it will constitute a very strong and productive workforce to tackle the above mentioned challenges.

So what is critically important here is what is the access we are providing to a large section of our student community to go in for higher education.

Equally critical is the issue as to how best we are succeeding in extending these opportunities to our girls as well because this is something which will require focused attention on the part of the government as well as that of our academic community.

In these modern days when we are forging ahead in critical areas like ease of doing business and make in India, we owe it to our womenfolk that conditions conducive for their equal and efficient participation in the process are consciously introduced and they are automatically encouraged to avail of these opportunities.

It must also be remembered that universities are preparing students for tomorrow.

Wherever necessary, traditional teaching methods have to be replaced with new ways of teaching as change is the only constant factor for progress in any field.

Classrooms should become exciting, interactive centres of learning for students and not teacher centric sermon halls.

There must be a highly healthy spirit of competition among our higher education institutions to bring in newer and more student friendly methods of learning and this could probably be more diligently addressed when universities go in for accreditation and ranking. There is no reason why India could not be different as far as facilitation of newer and student friendly educational systems are concerned.

I am happy to find that ICFAI University Dehradun provides relevant applied learning experiences to its students through research, internships and community outreach projects. This, I am told, is the first University in the country to adapt the new concept of objective based learning, live industrial based learning, business case based learning, and programme outcome based learning.

It is a gratifying fact to know that all the students are exposed to electives in addition to core subjects for their all-round development so that they will not only prepare for the routine jobs but can handle new problems, situations and difficulties..

India was once known as ‘Vishwaguru’ and was the global centre of learning as knowledge seekers from all corners of the world used to come here and study at Takshashila, Nalanda and other centres of learning.

I would like to emphasize that the time has come for India to once again emerge as the global knowledge hub.

In order to achieve this goal we have to understand the true meaning of education and rededicate ourselves to finding the great values characteristic of our ancient culture and system. Tradition and modernity can co exist but what is critical to this process is developing a proper understanding of what is relevant and good for us in today’s scheme of things and finding the right balance.

Let us not forget what Mahatma Gandhi understood by true education. “By education, I mean an all-round drawing of the best in child and man in body, mind and spirit”, said the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He also said “Education which does not mould character is absolutely worthless”.

As the Mahatma has rightly emphasized, character is the most important quality for an individual to chart out the right path. Otherwise, despite having the privilege of getting educated in one of the best educational institutions, there is a danger of the individual going astray.

My dear young friends, please remember that character, caliber, capacity, conduct, compassion, hard work and discipline are important qualities for achieving success and realizing dreams.

And this is a key motto, a determination and a sacred goal you should be able to carry with you when you walk out of this institution very proudly and this, I am sure, will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

And when you do this and when it yields dividends in your further life and career, that is the time when you remember your alma mater very gratefully and proudly.

Dear students, you must develop the abilities to separate the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad and be bold and wise enough to choose the option that contributes to make our planet a better place to live in.

We must be pro active rather than be reactive.

We must be agile and ride the waves of change.

It is when we keep these qualities in our mind, that we realize the value of research and innovations which have become key parameters to judge the performance of a university in modern age.

One of the real challenges before a university like the ICFAI University, Dehradun is to be able to carve out a name for itself among the private universities in India by providing quality education in the real sense of the term and thereby be able to stand out differently among the higher education institutions of India.

I do hope your university will be able to rise upto this challenge very ably and eloquently.

While that will ensure that the students who pass out in future are different and better equipped, it will also make you feel proud that you have been part of a university which rose to the challenge of making this critical difference.

Uttarakhand is a newly created state with lots of aspirations among its people. It is natural for people to have greater expectations when a new, small state is created and it goes to the credit of the people of this state that the yearning for education is strong and the desire to send as many of its children to institutions of learning is very strong.

Where there are such expectation, we cannot fail in our efforts to increase the spread  of higher education institutions. But at the same time, both quality and high levels of performance cannot be compromised. I am sure the state government with its strong determination and will to bring about changes in line with the expectations of the people will continue to do its best in this challenging endeavor.

Dear students, this is a proud moment for all of you. Your journey of life has just commenced by receiving a degree; now you must move forward to achieve big things in life and a whole world of possibilities and opportunities await you now.

I am sure you are now adequately equipped to take up those challenges and you will succeed in playing a creative role in the process of nation building, and in the process, making your parents and your university proud and happy.

My best wishes to one and all.



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